2021 Fantasy Football Production Opportunity Preview: NFC

Charles 'Herms' Herrmann (@HermsNFL) The Lateral Chief Editor

The Lateral is not in the business of being the smartest, the workin'-hardest, or even the flarbdest. Alright, that last word was made up because no other rhyming words came to mind, but the point is that above all else, we want to be a useful and direct sources of quality information that is easily digestible. When thinking about what would be useful at this time of year, the bell went off inside the ol' noggin that it is almost March 15th AKA the day after Krabs fries and the beginning of 2021 NFL free agency.

Free agency marks the first time substantive decisions can be made in terms of how to begin rankings players and gauging potential opportunity for fantasy production. For the purposes of this article, we will be taking stock of each team's available opportunities (things such as vacated targets, unaccounted carries, etc.) while also listing the names of players set to potentially leave. This exercise does not account for/attempt to project which players a team will sign or draft in April but merely serves to frame what the state of each team is before any of that fun stuff happens.

In essence, this is a cheatsheet you can refer back to once a bunch of moves are made to help you look and see "hey, this guy landed on a squad with a lot of work in the receiving game available to them," and all that fun stuff. Neat? Who knows. Nothing super deep but maybe this will be helpful for you. We will begin with the NFC teams and conclude with the AFC teams in a subsequent article as there are only two conferences and no further explanation of this logic is needed. Let's get it going:

[SOURCES: AirYards.com & Spotrac.com]

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears


Upcoming Free Agents of Note: QB Mitchell Trubisky, RB Cordarrelle Patterson, TE Jimmy Graham (potential cut candidate)

Vacated Targets: 48 (8% of all team targets) 

Unaccounted Carries: 99 (25.1% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: TE Cole Kmet?, a healthy RB Tarik Cohen

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: QB

Detroit Lions

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: WR Kenny Golladay, RB Adrian Peterson, WR Marvin Jones Jr., WR Danny Amendola

Vacated Targets: 334 (59.5% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 189 (51.% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: RB D'Andre Swift, WR Quintez Cephus, WR Tyrell Williams (previously signed)

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: WR

Green Bay Packers

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: RB Jamaal Williams, TE Robert Tonyan (RFA)

Vacated Targets: 191 (38% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 138 (31.2% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: RB AJ Dillon, WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling?, WR Allen Lazard?

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: WR?

Minnesota Vikings

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: TE Kyle Rudolph

Vacated Targets: 78 (16.1% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 19 (4% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: TE Irv Smith Jr.

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: N/A

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: RB Todd Gurley II, RB Brian Hill

Vacated Targets: 124 (20.4% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 301 (73.5% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: RB Ito Smith?

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: RB

Carolina Panthers

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: RB Mike Davis, WR Curtis Samuel

Vacated Targets: 200 (37.9% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
213 (52.3% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: a healthy RB Christian McCaffrey, WR D.J. Moore?, WR Robbie Anderson?

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: QB (probably)

New Orleans Saints

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: WR Emmanuel Sanders, TE Jared Cook, QB Jameis Winston

Vacated Targets: 174 (34.2% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 29 (5.8% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries: WR Marquez Callaway, TE Adam Trautman

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: WR

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: TE Rob Gronkowski?, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Antonio Brown

Vacated Targets: 215 (35.7% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
118 (31.9% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 RB Ronald Jones II, TE O.J. Howard?, RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn (long shot but who knows)

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: N/A

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: N/A

Vacated Targets: 68 (11% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
33 (7.6% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 N/A

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: N/A

New York Giants

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: WR Golden Tate III, RB Wayne Gallman

Vacated Targets: 150 (30% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
295 (73.9% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 a healthy RB Saquon Barkley, WR Darius Slayton?

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: WR

Philadelphia Eagles

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: WR DeSean Jackson, TE Zach Ertz (possible trade?), WR Alshon Jeffrey (potential cut candidate)

Vacated Targets: 65 (11.6% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
84 (20.8% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 TE Dallas Geodert

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: WR

Washington Football Team

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: QB Alex Smith

Vacated Targets: 37 (6.4% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 
N/A

Potential beneficiaries:
 N/A

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: QB, WR

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: WR Larry Fitzgerald, RB Kenyan Drake

Vacated Targets: 167 (30.6% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries: 
239 (49.8% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 RB Chase Edmonds?, WR Christian Kirk

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: RB?

Los Angeles Rams

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: RB Malcolm Brown, TE Gerald Everett, WR Josh Reynolds

Vacated Targets: 180 (32% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
154 (32.5% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 RB Cam Akers, WR Van Jefferson?, TE Tyler Higbee

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: N/A

San Francisco 49ers

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: RB Tevin Coleman, RB Jerick McKinnon, TE Jordan Reed, WR Kendrick Bourne

Vacated Targets: 222 (40.1% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
141 (32.2% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 RB Raheem Mostert, RB Jeff Wilson Jr.?, RB JaMycal Hasty?, WR Deebo Samuel

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: QB (if all the Jimmy Garoppolo trade rumors Google could ever treat you to come to fruition), WR?

Seattle Seahawks

Upcoming Free Agents of Note: RB Chris Carson, RB Carlos Hyde, TE Jacob Hollister, TE Greg Olsen (retired)

Vacated Targets: 191 (35.5% of all team targets)

Unaccounted Carries:
237 (57.6% of all team carries)

Potential beneficiaries:
 RB Rashaad Penny?, RB DeeJay Dallas?

Fantasy Relevant Team Needs: RB, TE


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